It seems like distant news now but stem cells used to be on the cover on every scientific journal and on the forefront of all news outlets. This was during the stem cell research boom of the 1990s but research has cooled since then as funding and rules regarding stem cell research have fluctuated over the years.
Now some of the promises of stem cell research and development are coming true, and one newborn in Corpus Christi, Texas is the first in her town to receive a new stem cell treatment. The procedure is known as Evercord, and while baby Everly Castaneda won't use the procedure immediately, her stem cells are now safely locked away should they ever need to be used for any future procedure.
One of the main goals of any parent is to keep their children safe, even if it's safe from events that haven't even happened yet. "If anything came up in the future [my kids] would have a fighting chance." Said Everly's father, Marcos Castaneda.
It's thought that stem cells will be used in the future of a host of medical services and procedures and that stem cells will be the key in producing safer and more effective organ transplants. The Castaneda family elected to have Everlys umbilical stem cells because instances of cancer and heart disease are prevalent on both sides of the family. Should Everly ever require a procedure such as a heart transplant, her link own stem cells will be ready and willing to aid in therapy if the technology exists.
Other Stem Cell Breakthroughs
Utilizing a patient's own stem cells is nothing new in the stem cell world though developments are moving fast. Recently Dr. Kenneth Pettine of Loveland, Colorado completed a three-year FDA study that demonstrated a patient's own mesenchymal stem cells could be utilized to cure symptoms of degenerative diseases suffered by millions of Americans such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Pettine's early research indicates that stem cells were safe and effective at reducing inflammation, lessening pain symptoms, and reducing the need for invasive surgery.
It's research like Pettines and new techniques like the one for Everly that are pushing stem cell technologies to the forefront of medical techniques. It's fun to wonder what type of stem cell services will be provided to newborns by the time Everly has a child of her own.